Thursday, April 29, 2010

What to write?

I'm working on a new YA novel and I'm doing a few firsts with it. Fun, refreshing, but also a challenge. I'm not big on outlines, but I plan out the basic plot points in a notebook. Right now, I'm struggling to find a good way to get my characters from one point to another and I'm wondering, how do you decide?

**pausing this blog post to make a "red heart-shaped cookie" on a piece of paper for my tiny human**

Do you let your characters choose the path, or do you lay it out for them before they "come to life" on the page? Have you ever found that they just don't want to do what you've laid out?

That's a big part of the adventure of novel writing. You can plan it all out, but your characters are people too, for all intensive purposes, and they have thoughts of their own. You can't force someone to do something that doesn't make sense to them.

Yes, I realize that makes me sound crazy. But we're all a little bit crazy, aren't we? We are, right?

I believe Valerie had a post on characters and the choices they make. So at least I know she's crazy too.

Anywho, this WIP has a bit of a mystery in it and mystery is HARD! Making my characters solve the mystery in a progressive way is a pain in the asterisk right now. The Edgars are tonight and I am cheering for Saundra Mitchell, author of SHADOWED SUMMER! Visit Saundra on twitter @saundramitchelle and cheer for her too!


  1. Funny thing about this - I am a plotter. At least most of time. UNtil my current MC ran away with my story and morphed into some other character entirely! Now I am starting over from a blank page...oh well, such is the creative proess!

  2. Hey! Watch who you're calling crazy! LOL

    I do a similar type of really basic "plotting" and usually it's my characters who point out the flaws in my logic and foil my plans for them.

    Mysteries are a lot harder than I thought they would be! I feel your pain. So hard to make them not figure everything out, or make it too obvious for the reader.

    But if you listen to your character, sometimes they'll tell you what they think the answer is and you can work from there, rather than trying to come up with wrong turns for them to make, they'll make it themselves.

  3. Yes, mysteries are so hard! There are bunch of secrets in my WIP and figuring out how the characters figure them out was a big challenge. With mystery, I found that plotting beforehand was essential. It took a long time to work out in my brain and on paper how characters got from A to B but it was worth it. Now that I know how it unfolds, I get to have fun getting to know the characters and writing without worry.

  4. Christine, don't you just love that? So far, my MC is staying in line. I just can't make her figure out what I want her too figure out.

    Valerie, I didn't say crazy was a bad thing! Lol! I was thinking about both you and Kristi this morning. You both have a mystery villain. I was thinking about how you went about it. A few things just sort of fell together, but I'm having trouble with what should happen next. I don't want the MAJOR twist to happen so soon because then it'll fall flat. But I don't want to bore the reader either so something has to happen.

    Virginia, I think I'm going to have to sit down and plot it out better. I did write the short query synopsis! Surprisingly that was the easiest one I've ever done. Of course, once the Sisters rip it apart, I might feel differently.

  5. I completely agree with you! Though I am a bit insane so do with that what you will. I have a rough idea of where I am going and where we should all end up, but the characters always surprise me. Especially the guys. Maybe because I'm a girl, so I would have done thing differently? :)

  6. I think all writers are crazy - it's just a matter of degree. :)

  7. YES! We are all a little crazy. That's why we write. I tend to let my characters decide, but that's why I've re-written 4 times...

  8. Yeah, you have to let them choose the way. Pantsers unite!

  9. We are crazy, it's just part of the writer's make-up. ;) For me, the writing process is a bit of a combo. I like to give my character's plenty of room to live and breath, but I also don't let them walk all over me. If they're pushing me into a plot corner I don't want to go, I push back. Hey, if they get to be stubborn, so do I. ;)


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